Was frost your foe on your morning hike, resulting in a fractured foot? Did the shrimp scampi you ate for dinner cause your stomach to shrivel?
Nobody plans to get sick or injured on vacation, but the truth is, sometimes the unexpected happens. Whatever the reason, keep these tips in mind if an unfortunate medical emergency arises on your next trip:
- Call your travel insurance provider.
Travel Guard's assistance centers have experience working with medical providers all over the world. Medical representatives will help you get appropriate medical care and are available 24/7 for any questions you have. They can also help coordinate travel arrangements if you end up needing to come home early or delay your return.
- Seek medical attention.
Many hotels overseas have doctors they can call directly to your hotel room. A quick call to the front desk and they can have arrangements made for you. If you need more comprehensive medical attention, Travel Guard's 24/7 assistance services can help you find English speaking physicians, locate nearby medical facilities and help to coordinate appointments for you. It's important to see a doctor if you're ill or injured because a doctor will be able to tell you if it's safe for you to fly home. You'll also need documentation from a local licensed physician in order to submit for reimbursement of covered expenses.
- Save everything.
In order to file for reimbursement you'll need to submit receipts and medical documentation showing proof of the medical situation that occurred. The most important documents to obtain and save are copies of your medical report (you should get this from the physician) and your receipts, but ask for copies of everything so you don't arrive home only to find out you're missing important information.
- Know the culture.
If you do end up in a hospital in another country, keep in mind that cultural differences influence hospitals as well. For example, in some hospitals in Italy, essentials like toilet paper aren't provided in hospital rooms because it's expected that the patient's family will bring it when they come to visit. Don't take these cultural differences to mean a hospital isn't up to medical standards.
- Pre-existing conditions.
If you're worried about traveling because you have a pre-existing condition, you should know that on many Travel Guard policies purchasing your travel insurance the same day you make your first trip deposit (or shortly after) may qualify you for the pre-existing condition exclusion waiver. With the waiver it's possible to be covered for medical issues on your trip, despite your pre-existing condition. Make sure to look into purchasing a travel insurance plan with Travel Guard at the time you book your trip so you don't miss out. For more information ask your travel agent or call Travel Guard at 1.800.826.5248. (There's also more information under our Frequently Asked Questions)
- It's not the end of your vacation.
It's important to remember that a slight stall in your itinerary doesn't have to mean the end of your much needed vacation. If you're sick, take a few days to rest up and relax – lounge around your hotel room and give your body a break. If you get injured, don't look at it as missing out on your whole vacation. Do the less vigorous activities you can still partake in and enjoy relaxing on the beach or people watching from a café. However, your health should be your main priority, so don't prolong returning home if that's what is best for you. Travel Guard's 24/7 assistance services can help make arrangements for you to return home early and you may be covered for the missed days of your trip.
- Pack travel insurance.
The best thing you can have if something unexpected happens on your trip is a travel insurance plan with 24/7 assistance. Travel Guard's 'round the clock assistance can go to work on your behalf monitoring medical care, re-booking flights, finding lost luggage and more. Plus a travel insurance plan can cover you for things like travel delays due to inclement weather, trip cancellation/interruption and medical expenses so that you may book your vacation with confidence. To find out more simply ask your travel agent, or call 800.826.5248.